Tutorial 7: AfterBurn HyperSolids (2)

In this tutorial you will learn how to use the HyperSolids displacement feature.


  1. In 3ds Max, select File->Open, and from your /Scenes/AfterBurn/Tutorials folder, select the file AB-Tut7.max.


When the file loads, you'll see an Omni light and a Particle Cloud (PCloud) Gizmo.


  1. Go to Rendering->Environment and from the Atmosphere rollout, click Add.
  2. From the resulting dialog, select AfterBurn to create an AfterBurn entry in the effects list.
  3. Under Source Particles/Daemons, click on the Pick Particles/Daemons button, and pick the PCloud01 object in the scene.
  4. Under Source Lights, click the Pick Lights button and pick the Omni01 light in the scene.


Now that the AfterBurn effect is present, we need to activate the HyperSolids again.


  1. Under Rendering Type, change this to HyperSolids.
  2. Within the Particle Shape rollout, change the Sphere Radius value to 40.0.
  3. Under the Noise Animation rollout, change the Noise Type to Spots.



This noise type is what we'll use to displace the surface of our HyperSolids later on.


  1. Select the Perspective viewport and render frame 0.



When you do, you'll see simply a cluster of big white circles. This is because there is no Shading model assigned to the effect.


  1. Go to the Shading rollout, then change the Shading Type to Lambert.
  2. Next, re-render frame 0.



Now the volumes render as shaded spheres.


NOTE: Be aware that AfterBurn's Normals and Shape parameters influence the controls underneath the shading model. This influences how much the surface interpretation is affected by the shape of the volume object (Spherical, Cylindrical, Cubic, etc.). With Normals set to Shape, a lower shape influence will cause a "flatter" look, while a higher value will impose more bumpiness. With Normals set to Noise, lower Shape influence values will produce a highly irregular appearance derived directly from the system's Noise parameters, while the higher Shape influence values will result in a more regular surface appearance.


  1. Within the Shading rollout and set the Normals options to Noise and the Shape Influence spinner to 0.0.
  2. Re-render the Perspective viewport.



We now have a bunch of spheres with mottled lumpy surfaces. It's only the surface appearance that is being affected now; the profile is still smooth.


  1. In the Noise Animation rollout, change the Affect dropdown to Surface Displacement.



  1. Re-render the scene. The spherical shapes are now displaced and no longer smooth. The shape of the AfterBurn volumetric puff has changed but is still contained by the same spherical boundary.


NOTE: In the Particle Shape/Animation Parameters section there is a parameter called Regularity. As with Raymarcher-based AfterBurn effects, Regularity controls the "severeness" of the effect. By increasing the Regularity, the rendered effect will resemble its original container shape more closely (Sphere, Cubic, Cylindrical, etc.) and will become more regular. As Regularity decreases, the effect will degenerate and resemble the underlying Noise structure. Lower Regularity values in HyperSolids provide a bumpier effect or greater displacement.


  1. To add some color go to Colors rollout and click on Color2 button to enable usage of both Color1 and Color2 gradients.
  2. Right click on Color1 gradient and choose Keyless. Do the same for Color2 gradient.
  3. Change both colors to anything you like.
  4. Render.
  5. To get a smoother effect, go to Rendering rollout and enable Antialiasing. If you are using a 3rd party raytracer, you might not need to use this option as those raytracers might have built in antialiasing of atmospheric effect.
  6. Render.





In the next tutorial, you'll work with the AfterBurn Glow Render Effect to enhance the final look of your AfterBurn effects.